Through the opening 16 games, the Philadelphia Phillies struggled on offense and defense.
All of a sudden, they appear to have clicked.
The Phillies will look for a four-game series sweep when they host the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
Philadelphia has scored 25 runs in the three wins over Colorado.
“I just think our guys are getting more comfortable,” Nick Castellanos, who had two hits on Wednesday in the Phillies’ 7-3 victory, said in a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Guys are getting used to being with each other. We are starting to build that camaraderie.”
The Phillies produced 12 hits, highlighted by Odubel Herrera’s home run leading off the game and Bryce Harper’s 3-for-4 performance.
“Everyone kind of contributing is how you score a lot of runs,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said.
The Phillies will hand the ball Thursday to Zack Wheeler (0-3, 8.53 earned run average), who has scuffled this season. Wheeler, the runner-up for the National League Cy Young Award last year, is 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies.
In Wheeler’s latest start, he gave up seven hits and four runs in five innings in a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
“I felt a lot better today, a lot more in sync,” Wheeler said after that outing. “I made some adjustments in my last bullpen (session) and they showed up in the game. I’m happy with that.
“I’m still building up. I’m getting stronger and getting into the swing of things. I think some of the adjustments I made unlocked a little bit of that.”
The Rockies will hope to salvage the series finale when they send Austin Gomber to the mound.
Gomber (1-1, 4.20 ERA) had a solid outing in his previous start on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. He pitched six shutout innings and gave up four hits and no walks while striking out eight.
The left-hander has made one career appearance against the Phillies, allowing one hit and two runs in two-thirds of an inning in 2018.
What hurt the Rockies Wednesday was a 36-pitch first inning by Ryan Feltner, who took the loss.
Gomber will likely need to be more effective for the Rockies to win.
“That was a tough first inning and I threw a lot of pitches,” said Feltner, who wound up pitching five innings and allowing four runs on seven hits. “But I was happy I made it through five after throwing that many in the first.”
It’s unclear whether Colorado’s Kris Bryant or Brendan Rodgers will be back in the lineup on Thursday. Bryant missed the past two games with back soreness, though manager Bud Black didn’t believe it was a serious injury. Rodgers was also out with a tender back.
Charlie Blackmon homered twice for Colorado on Tuesday and C.J. Cron hit a solo shot on Wednesday, but the Rockies have had trouble scoring runs in the series.
“We kept battling all the way through the game, which is what we do,” Black said. “Things didn’t go our way with the big hit.”
The Rockies can take solace in their improved defense Wednesday, as they committed no errors after making a total of five in the first two games of the series.
–Field Level Media